People everywhere love Starbucks for its convenience, its consistency, and its craft coffee creations. But they may love it most of all for the sheer amount of food and drink choices. Starbucks is all about options, including its ten choices in milk:
|1. Whole Milk|
|2. 2% Milk|
|3. Nonfat Milk (aka Skim Milk)|
|4. Half and Half|
|5. Heavy Cream|
|6. Vanilla Sweet Cream|
|Plant-Based (aka Non-Dairy)|
|7. Soy Milk|
|8. Coconut Milk|
|9. Almond Milk|
|10. Oat Milk|
Whether you base your milk preference on taste, nutrition, or dietary needs, chances are you’ll be able to find what you need at Starbucks. Keep reading as we break down all ten milk options available to you – and everything you need to know about them!
Dairy milk options at Starbucks
As far as your tried-and-true dairy milks and creams, Starbucks offers six different choices: whole milk, 2% milk, nonfat milk, half-and-half (or breve), heavy cream, and vanilla sweet cream. Starbucks’ dairy milks are sourced from various brands depending on location, but its three main dairy suppliers in the US are Dean Foods, Borden Milk, or Good and Gather.
Whole milk is full-fat milk, with a fat content of 3.25% by weight. This is that rich and creamy milk that makes drinks taste delicious. Because it’s thick and full-bodied, whole milk is the standard type of milk you’ll find in Starbucks’ blended Frappuccinos as well as its flat white.
Starbucks uses 2% milk as its default milk in almost all of their menu items. So essentially any drink made with milk will be made with 2% unless otherwise specified. 2% milk still has some of that good flavor from the fat, but as a reduced fat milk it’s a bit lighter than whole milk and is very versatile – working well in hot or iced drinks.
Nonfat milk, or skim milk, is milk that’s had all of its fat removed. It’s the lightest in consistency and the most mild in flavor, but still foams well and tastes great in lattes and other hot drinks. When people order a “skinny” drink at Starbucks, that means nonfat milk will be used to make it.
Half and half
Half and half (or breve, the fancy Italian name for it), is half heavy cream and half whole milk. Many Starbucks will also just refer to it as cream – so if you ask for cream in your coffee, you’ll get half-and-half. Because it’s a lot heavier than whole, 2%, or nonfat milk, half and half isn’t necessarily ideal for lattes or other espresso drinks, but its consistency is great as an add-in for drip coffee, iced coffee, and cold brew.
This is as heavy as you can get when it comes to milk at Starbucks. Heavy cream is made of the fat that’s been removed from milk. It’s what Starbucks uses to make that sweet whipped cream that they include in many of their signature drinks, but it’s also a milk option that you can customize your drinks with if you want something extra thick, rich, and creamy.
Vanilla sweet cream
To make their vanilla sweet cream, Starbucks mixes a blend of heavy cream and 2% milk with their vanilla simple syrup. It’s used as a sweetener in drinks like cold brew and iced coffee for added flavor and creaminess.
Here’s a summary of all of the dairy milks available at Starbucks, along with their main characteristics and nutritional facts so you can compare and contrast the best option for you.
|Type of Milk||Definition||Nutritional Facts [Per Cup]|
|Whole Milk||Full-fat milk with 3.25% fat||Calories: 149|
|2% Milk||Reduced-fat milk with 2% fat||Calories: 122|
|Nonfat Milk||Milk with all fat removed||Calories: 83|
|Half and Half||Half heavy cream, |
half whole milk
|Heavy Cream||Fat that’s been removed |
|Vanilla Sweet Cream||3 parts heavy cream, |
2 parts 2% milk,
1 part vanilla syrup
*Per splash or serving
Plant-based milk options at Starbucks
If you follow a specific dietary lifestyle or prefer non-dairy milk for nutritional reasons, the good news is that Starbucks has almost as many alternative milk options as they do dairy ones. All of the plant-based milks available at Starbucks are gluten-free, dairy-free, lactose-free, vegan, and non-GMO. If you’re looking for a non-dairy milk alternative, your choices at Starbucks are either soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk, or oat milk.
Derived from whole soybeans, soy milk was actually the first non-dairy milk offered at Starbucks all the way back in 1997. Starbucks uses a brand of soy milk owned by Danone – it’s a special organic blend formulated exclusively for Starbucks stores. Their soy milk is creamy and flavorful, and it’s sweetened with evaporated cane juice and vanilla flavoring (it also contains other additives, some of which are controversial like Carrageenan).
Coconut milk is a rich, fatty, plant-based alternative made from coconuts. Similar to their soy milk, Starbucks uses their own brand of coconut milk: Single Origin Sumatra Coconut Milk. It’s a sweet blend with a coconut cream base, but also contains additives like gums, natural flavors, and carrageenan. Coconut milk doesn’t tend to foam well, but it’s a great creamy addition to cold or iced beverages.
Almond milk is a plant-based milk that’s made from almonds and filtered water. Most Starbucks locations currently use Califia Farms Barista Blend Almond Milk – this brand (like many others) includes ingredients like lecithin, gums, and natural flavors, as well as some added cane sugar. Almond milk is neutral in flavor, lightly creamy in texture, and steams well for hot drinks; Starbucks uses it to make some of their signature drinks like the Honey Almondmilk Latte.
Made from oats and water, oat milk is another popular milk alternative. Starbucks uses Oatly Barista Edition Oatmilk, which contains rapeseed oil and small amounts of other added ingredients. Oat milk is a little sweeter and creamier by nature, resembling your typical dairy milk more closely than the other plant-based options. It foams well, and is also included in some of Starbucks signature drinks like their Iced Brown Sugar Oat Milk Shaken Espresso.
Now that you’ve gotten the run-down on all of the alternative milks Starbucks has to offer, here’s a helpful cheat sheet for a bird’s-eye-view of each milk option’s ingredient list and nutritional facts.
|Milk Alternative||Brand||Ingredients||Nutritional Facts |
|Soy Milk||Danone Soy Milk [Special Blend]||Organic Soymilk (Filtered Water, |
Whole Organic Soybeans)
Organic Evaporated Cane Juice
Natural Vanilla Flavor
Vitamin A Palmitate
|Coconut Milk||Single Origin Sumatra Coconut Milk||Water|
Coconut Water Concentrate
Vitamin A Palmitate
|Oat Milk||Oatly Barista Edition Oatmilk||Oat Base (Water, Oats)|
Low Erucic Acid Rapeseed Oil
Contains 2% or less of:
|Almond Milk||Califia Farms Barista Blend Almond Milk||Almondmilk (Water, Almonds)|
Starbucks currently offers ten different milk options on their menu. These include six dairy milks (whole milk, 2% milk, nonfat milk, half and half, heavy cream, and vanilla sweet cream) along with four plant-based milk alternatives (soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk, and oat milk).
Determining the healthiest milk option is a bit subjective based on what you’re looking for. Of the dairy milk options, nonfat milk is lowest in fat and highest in protein, while containing the essential nutrients (like calcium and vitamin D) that come from dairy milk. As far as plant-based milk, the healthiest option is almond milk, as it’s lowest in calories and carbs, but also lower in fat and sugar than the other milk alternatives.
All of Starbucks plant-based milks contain some amount of added sugar. Starbucks soy milk is sweetened with evaporated cane juice and vanilla flavor, and is the most sugary option with 13g of sugar per cup. Their coconut milk is sweetened with cane sugar, with 7g of sugar per cup. Starbucks almond milk contains cane sugar as well with 5g of added sugar per cup, and their oat milk, while not technically sweetened, also contains 7g of added sugar per cup.
No! “CauliMilk” was one of Starbucks’ April Fool’s Day jokes in 2022. Another was a bigger-than-a-Venti-or-Trenta “Gigante” size drink.